I tend to agree with Art on this. Once a user has used the
UI a few times, steps that are strictly navigational have
nearly no value except to annoy the user and slow them
down in completing the task at hand. I recently attended
a JoAnn Hackos workshop on minimialism, and this is
exactly the kind of thing we were focusing on.

But if you really feel that you have to spell out each and
every mouse click in a procedure step, I'd agree with your
boss that the "if necessary" is unnecessary. Any reasonably
intelligent user will realize that if they're already seeing a
particular window they can ignore the step that tells them
that they need to open that window.

Focus on essential steps (accomplishing the task at hand).
Assume automatic actions (like basic navigation).
Eliminate unnecessary words.

>From: "Art Campbell" <art.campbell at gmail.com>
>To: "Tammy.VanBoening at jeppesen.com" <Tammy.VanBoening at jeppesen.com>
>CC: framers at frameusers.com
>Subject: Re: OT: Writing/editing style
>Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 13:40:06 -0400
>I'd probably do away with your first two steps entirely and preface
>the actual instructions with something like:
>"On (or From) the [application's] [foobar] tab:
>1. Do this...
>2. Do that...
>3. Do the other thing ... "
>So that you can just jump into the procedure. If you've done a decent
>job identifying the applications and each one's tabs, the user
>learning curve will be short. And after a very short period of time,
>as the users get some experience, the first two instructions will just
>annoy them because they're unnecessary.
>On 8/10/06, Tammy.VanBoening at jeppesen.com <Tammy.VanBoening at 
>>Again, since there are so many veteran writers on this and who have
>>learned through the years to maneuver their way through the editing
>Art Campbell                                             
>art.campbell at gmail.com
>  "... In my opinion, there's nothing in this world beats a '52 Vincent
>               and a redheaded girl." -- Richard Thompson
>                             No disclaimers apply.
>                                     DoD 358
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